|Proposed construction on State Route 10 includes the creation of northbound and southbound passing lanes.|
The Utah Department of Transportation held an open house on Wednesday at the town hall in Huntington. The purpose of the meeting was to gather comments on the proposed widening of State Route 10 from Huntington to Poison Springs Bench. At the open house a large map of the proposed road as it is now and also including the proposed improvements was available for the public to examine. Comments and concerns were written directly on the map at the point of reference. Written comments were taken as well as oral comments. Comments are still being accepted by mail. The draft plan is the result of technical work and review of information from property owners and local officials.
Plans for the project include a northbound passing lane for the entire five mile length of the project. A southbound passing lane for 4.25 miles of the project. A four-foot paved plus six-foot graded shoulders will also be part of the improvements. Motorists on SR-10 experience travel delays and unsafe conditions. The engineering analysis for the project concluded that SR-10 lacks acceptable passing opportunities. Motorists are spending 85 percent of their time on this stretch of SR-10 following slow-moving vehicles. The majority of delays are from the large number of heavy trucks using the highway.
Existing narrow shoulders and steep slopes along the side of the road do not provide a safe vehicle recovery area for motorists. This area is called a "clear zone." UDOT will obtain and comply with conditions of permits. They will erect fencing around sensitive features during construction to prevent impacts. UDOT will also use retaining walls, guard rails, steeper cut fill slopes and head walls where applicable to reduce and avoid impacts. They will also document historic sites like the Cleveland Canal which was build between 1885 and 1889 and the North Ditch which was built in 1879.
UDOT will also monitor for the presence of burrowing owls. They will work to control construction impacts using the best management practices. Noise abatement is not one of the proposed projects and two landowners specifically along the route could experience increased traffic noise.
Some environmental impacts are expected with the project such as the removal of 920 feet of historic SR-10. The replacement of the culvert over the historic Cleveland Canal and the extension of the culvert on the historic North Ditch are also part of the project. Approximately a half an acre of wetlands/stream areas will be impacted. Travelers will also experience the impacts of the actual construction process.
H.G. Kunzler, project manager said, "Letters were sent to all residents adjacent to the project and we met with them individually. These letters were sent out at the beginning of the project. We met with all who voiced concerns. Residents were also notified of the open house by mail. We will analyze all of the comments given here tonight and also the comments received by mail. We will accept comments until Aug. 31. We will take the comments and address them. When we finalize the draft environmental document we will incorporate any modifications. UDOT addresses each question or comment.
"The project could go out for bid in late fall or winter, but it will most likely be in the spring of 2003. The funds for this project will come from federal highway funds," said Kunzler.
Speed studies will also be conducted along the route to help determine the appropriate speed for the route. One resident expressed concern over speed along the intersection where the Cleveland Road takes off and the reservoir traffic and coal truck traffic all enter the highway. He said he has seen a lot of accidents at that intersection involving distracted drivers.
The project will be a Level III project which will fall under a categorical exclusion. The environmental study has taken place but with a minimal disturbance expected, this project will not need a full blown NEPA study. These exclusions allow a project to get up and running in a timely manner without delays.
Some residents who live along the West Airport Road are excited about the project which will construct a turning lane so they will safely be able to access their road when returning from a trip to Price. A deceleration lane will also be installed so they can access the road without fear of being hit from behind when returning from Huntington. "We are happy with these improvements," said Jeannine Seegmiller.
Kunzler said, "This project is needed to meet adequate traffic operations and correct existing design deficiencies including substandard shoulder widths, a deficient clear zone and to improve the safety of the corridor."